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Airtel Grows Customer Base by 12 Percent to 116.4m in H1

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Airtel Africa Increased Customer Base by 12 Percent to 116.4m in the First Quarter of 2021

Airtel Africa Plc, one of the leading telecommunications companies in Africa, grew customer base by 12 percent to 116.4 million in the first half of the year that ended September 30, 2020.

In the financial results signed by Simon O’Hara, Group Company Secretary, and released through the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Friday, the telecommunication giant reported a 10.7 percent increase in revenue to $1,815 million with second-quarter growth of 14.3 percent.

Similarly, revenue growth in constant currency was 16.4 percent in the first half of the year but 19.6 percent in the second quarter during the peak of COVID-19 locked down.

The report also showed growth was recorded across all regions with Nigeria rising by 20.2 percent. East Africa followed with 21.9 percent growth while Francophone Africa expanded by 4.4 percent.

Services with voice revenue grew by 7 percent with data and mobile money appreciating by 33.4 percent and 30.4 percent, respectively.

Airtel operating profit increased by 19.5 percent to $472 million, representing an increase of 28.3 percent in constant currency. The company’s free cash flow stood at $319 million, up from $210 million filed in the same period of last year.

Raghunath Mandava, chief executive officer, on the trading update: “The first half of our fiscal year included the peak impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the countries where we operate, as lockdown measures were swiftly implemented to stem the initial spread of contagion. In these unprecedented times, the telecoms industry has emerged as a key and essential service for these economies, allowing customers to work remotely, reduce their travels, keep them connected and allow access to affordable entertainment. In these exceptional circumstances, in the first half, we delivered a strong set of results and as lockdown restrictions eased during Q2 our performance continued to improve with constant currency revenue growth of 19.6%, up 6.6% from the prior quarter.

“Importantly, the fundamentals of our business remain strong and revenue growth further benefitted from the execution of our strategy with a specific focus on expanding distribution in the rural areas, investing in our network and increasing 4G coverage, as well as benefitting from the fact we provide an essential service to consumers. In Q2, performance in our mobile money business also significantly improved with constant currency revenue growth of 33.9%, up 8% from prior quarter, as lockdown restrictions were eased and fees on certain transactions, which had been previously waived, were largely reintroduced. We also continued to enter new partnerships with leading institutions such as WorldRemit, MoneyGram, Standard Chartered Bank, and Mukuru to increase use cases and improve customers’ access to digital
payments and financial services.

We remain alert to the potential for further disruptionsfrom a second wave of COVID-19 across Africa, and the associated actions of governments to minimise contagion. Nevertheless, we are in a strong financial position to capture the opportunities in a fast-growing region that is vastly underpenetrated in terms of mobile and banking services. We remain confident of delivering long term sustained growth for our shareholders.”

Airtel’s full financial year starts from April of the current year and ends in March of the following year.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Banking Sector

Ecobank Partners NiDCOM to Mobilise Nigerians Abroad for National Development

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In a bid to fulfill it’s objectives and mandate, the Pan African Bank has promised to support Nigerians living and working abroad through it’s partnership with NiDCOM.

The Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan has stated that the bank is privileged to work closely with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, (NiDCOM) and will continue to pursue one of its key mandates of helping to enhance the economic development and integration of Africa through its support to Nigerians living and working abroad.

Speaking at the maiden edition of the Diaspora Quarterly Lecture Series with Ecobank as the sole banking partner which took place on Saturday, 8th May 2021, he noted that Ecobank remains a critical bridge for Nigerians abroad, as it has made huge investments in the necessary platforms to enable them connect with home seamlessly. The event held online and had over 2000 participants from across all the continents in attendance.

“Nigerians in the diaspora play a major role in nation building, their contribution goes a long way to catalyse economic development. For us at Ecobank, we are a pan-African institution positioned to foster the economic growth and integration of our continent, so we are particularly pleased to work closely with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), ably led by the Chairman/CEO, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa”.

“We are committed to ensuring that every Nigerian living abroad is able to remit home seamlessly and affordably, access viable investment opportunities and as the financial institution of choice for Nigerians abroad, we have deployed the necessary resources to actualise this.” He stated.

The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who was also present, reiterated the readiness of the government to collaborate with Nigerians in the diaspora, highlighting the new processes put in place to facilitate passport issuance, noting that all backlog of passport applications would be cleared by the end of May 2021.

Also speaking, the Hon. Minister of State, Foreign Affairs Amb. Zubairu Dada said harnessing the human capital and material resources of Nigerians in the diaspora towards the socio-economic, cultural, and political development of Nigeria can no longer be ignored. He pointed out that the Nigerian diaspora community is well educated, resourceful, skilled, and exposed to global best practices.

The NiDCOM Chairman/CEO, Hon. Abike Dabiri- Erewa explained that the Diaspora Quarterly Lecture Series is projected to be a major aspect of national discourse, where Nigerians abroad can be kept abreast of the government’s policies, programmes and projects.

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Finance

Increase in Price Boosts Revenue of Dangote Sugar by 41.5 Percent in Q1 2021

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Dangote Sugar - Investors King

Revenue of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc rose by 41.5 percent to N67.394 billion in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021 from N47.643 billion recorded in the same quarter of 2020.

According to the leading sugar manufacturer, the increase in revenue was a result of the increase in the price of sugar in the first quarter. The company claimed price adjustment was necessary to mitigate the negative effect of inflation and depreciation on the company.

Volumes only rose by 5.7 percent during the quarter despite a 41.5 percent increase in revenue, meaning the increase in price was the main sales catalyst.

In the company’s unaudited financial statements, gross profit grew from N12.721 billion in Q1 2020 to N18.044 billion in Q1 2021.

Similarly, operating profit stood at N15.884 billion, up from N10.747 billion posted in Q1 2020.

Finance cost more than double from N1.353 billion in Q1 2020 to N3.412 billion in Q1 2021.

Dangote Sugar’s profit before tax rose from N9.509 billion recorded in the corresponding quarter to N11.949 billion in the quarter under review.

The company paid N3.646 billion in income tax, slightly higher than N3.137 paid in the same quarter of 2020.

Profit for the period grew from N6.372 billion in Q1 2020 to N8.302 billion in Q1 2021.

Commenting on the company’s performance, Dangote Sugar said “EBITDA increased by 34.7% to N17.02 billion (2020: N12.64 billion) on account of increased earnings. Group profit after taxation for the period increased by 30.3% to N8.30 billion (2020: N6.37 billion) reflecting management’s unrelenting drive to deliver consistent shareholder value.”

On price increase, the company hinged it on series of devaluation carried out in 2020 by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), escalating inflation, port congestion and rising in price of global sugar. Dangote Sugar said its imported raw sugar from Brazil under Federal Government’s backward integration plan.

We have continued to witness high cost of raw materials, energy costs and other input costs due to rising inflation and FX rate fluctuation. Further cost escalation is anticipated in the year as inflationary pressure mounts,” the company said.

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FBN Holdings Suffers 39 Percent Drop in Profit to N15.6 Billion in Q1 2021

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FBN Holdings - Investors King

FBN Holdings Plc profit after tax declined by 39 percent from N23.140 billion recorded in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020 to N15.6 billion in the first quarter of 2021.

In the leading financial institution’s unaudited financial statements released through the Nigerian Exchange Limited, gross earnings declined by 14.5 percent to N137 billion in the period under review, down from N160 billion filed in the previous quarter.

Similarly, net interest income declined from N60.253 billion achieved in Q1 2020 to N52.793 billion.

Net interest income after impairment charge for losses also dipped from N50.547 billion in Q1 2020 to N39.619 billion in Q1 20201. While net fee and commission income rose from N20.773 billion in Q1 2020 to N28.427 billion in Q1 2021.

Profit before tax declined by 34 percent to N18.906 billion in the quarter under review, down from N28.680 billion posted in the corresponding quarter of 2020.

FBN Holdings paid N3.285 billion in income tax in the first quarter of 2020.

Therefore, profit for the period stood at N15.621 billion. While Net Assets contracted from N765.2 billion to N764.8 billion.

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